of Greater Santa Barbara

Alumna Story

Suzette: Girls Inc. Made Me Feel Like I Mattered


While attending Girls Inc. for four years, it was Suzette’s favorite place to be. Now, as a facilitator, it is still her favorite place to be. “As a young girl, I always felt safe here and I always felt like I could be myself. I wanted to work at a place that made me feel the same way. What better place, than coming back to Girls Inc.!”

When she was younger, Suzette was very shy and timid. It wasn’t until she was enrolled at Girls Inc. that she found her voice, gained confidence, and learned how to stand up for herself and others. The oldest of five children, Suzette helped her parents care for her younger siblings. Girls Inc. was a place just for her, where she was able to focus on herself and do things for herself.

Girls Inc. helped Suzette start thinking of her future, and she became very interested following a path where she could help others. After working at Girls Inc. for two years, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in teaching.

She credits Girls Inc. for encouraging her to pursue higher education so she could have better career opportunities. Suzette is proud to be the first member of her family to go to college. She returned to work for Girls Inc. because she wanted to show other girls that college is a possibility, just like she learned at Girls Inc.

“I remember being asked in one of my Strong classes to submit an essay to UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) on why fitness is important. I remember about 12 of us submitted an essay, along with other organizations that were approached. One day after school my parents picked me up early from Girls Inc. and drove me to UCSB. I had no idea that I had actually won the essay contest. I will never forget how proud my parents and the Girls Inc. staff were of me and how good that made me feel.”

Suzette recalls feeling important and feeling supported that day, and every day at Girls Inc. And today, that feeling like she mattered motivates her to work at Girls Inc. while she pursues higher education so she can make other girls feel like they matter, too.

I remember most about Girls Inc. being able to walk into the building and feeling confident, like I could be myself without being judged or shut down. I loved being in a space with other girls who shared the same values as me; who also wanted to be empowered and supported.


Are you a Girls Inc. alumna? 

Consider joining the Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara Alumnae Group, and send an email to info@girlsincsb.org to share how Girls Inc. impacted your life and shaped who you are today. Tell us about your latest accomplishments and how you are inspiring other girls and young women.